The Beach opposite The Walk, JBR, has a fit new addition to its shores – Muscle Beach operated by The Warehouse Gym. Following the lead of California’s Venice Beach, where fitness fans can work on their tans and triceps simultaneously, Muscle Beach is a gym that’s entirely outdoors.
But unlike in California – the home of bodybuilding – Muscle Beach isn’t intimidatingly sprawling with rows of weights and bench presses. The 235 square metre outdoor gym sits on a raised platform with six spinning bikes, a rowing machine, multi-fitness rig and a selection of free weights. There are also qualified staff on hand to lead you through a class or assist with your workout. It’s starting small, but Warehouse Gym general manager and co-founder Kevin Teixeira feels that the open-air facility could offer local residents and tourists something novel and unique. ‘Meraas Holding approached us, looking for someone to operate a gym here, and we had a good proposal. When you look at this whole Meraas Holding development [The Beach] – it’s urban, outdoors and offers something different. Similarly, Warehouse is different to most gyms; it has that urban feel and that’s what Meraas liked.’
Kevin and his team got the facility running within a few months. Now, it offers spinning classes and a bootcamp session, and aims to soon offer CrossFit, too. And there are no membership fees or contracts at Muscle Beach. Just sign up at reception and pay as you go.
However, with Dubai’s summer temperature typically reaching a searing 40˚C and more, how will the outdoor gym handle the heat? ‘We’ll be reducing operational hours in the summer,’ Kevin admits. ‘We want to have a canopy to provide shade and big fans, so in June, July and August we’ll can open early in the morning and in the evening. The only issue will be the humidity. We’ll have to make sure that we have plenty of fluids on hand and also provide towels, but we’re a work in progress right now.’
We visited on a Saturday morning for a spinning class. Five of us saddled up and instructed by Jocelyn. It’s advisable to keep your sunglasses on during this morning session – a workout rarity. Jocelyn led us through a warm up. Fortunately, our visit was on a pleasant day, and even as we gradually increased the resistance on our bikes, we didn’t get too hot to work out.
The spinning bikes face out to the sea, so we didn’t get too distracted by the stream of passers-by who stopped to take photos of the gym, and were able to enjoy the refreshingly unique view as we pedalled. Jocelyn did a good job of making sure we all remained hydrated and encouraged us to take in water at intervals during the 45-minute class. As with a standard spinning class, energetic music booms abd the addition of seeing the blue sky and having a gentle, natural breeze on our backs makes the session far more enjoyable.
‘It’s liberating,’ says Kevin. ‘Especially when you exercise in the morning and there’s no-one around. Exercise is movement, it is natural, uplifting and primal, and it’s a great feeling.’ Al fresco aerobics also has another benefit; vitamin D. According to the Dubai Health Authority, 78 percent of the UAE have a vitamin D deficiency, and taking fitness classes outdoors could help.
Those of a more self-conscious nature may be delight to hear that Warehouse also plans to expand its Muscle Beach venture and create an indoor area to complement it. ‘The outdoor area is the showy bit – guys working out doing all the calisthenics and lifting, and that’s what draws some people in,’ Kevin says. ‘But when we get the indoor element up and running as well, it will be amazing, as it will give people more options.’
For the time being, though, the outdoor element of Muscle Beach is building up a reputation, whether with people working on their muscles or just their Instagram accounts.
Dhs60 (pay as you go). Sun-Thu 6am-10pm; Dhs90 (pay as you go). Fri-Sat 8am-8pm; Dhs100 (each group class); Dhs800 (ten group classes). Book in advance as space is limited. The Beach, JBR, www.whgym.com (04 323 2323).
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A challenging outdoor circuit class.
Mon and Wed, 7pm, Sat 6.30pm. Dubai Sports City, www.b2bfitnessdubai.com (056 146 1750).
Sessions are held on the beach in JBR or around Dubai Marina.
Tue 6.30am, Wed 7pm. Silverene Tower, Dubai Marina, www.tribefit.com (800 87423).
Elite Aesthetics Dubai
Flip tyres and run with parachutes at this dynamic bootcamp.
Tue, Thu, Sun 6am, 7.30am, 8.30am. SkyDive Dubai, Dubai Marina, www.Eadxb.com (055 536 7718).